What are future fathers thinking about?

The belly

Men react in many different ways to their spouse’s growing belly. If many men love their girlfriend’s new belly, sing to it, talk to it, rub it, massage it and play with it, others are intimidated by or indifferent to it. Some men may even feel frustration towards the belly and the new presence, especially if the pregnancy wasn’t planned. Ultrasounds and the baby’s movements inside the mother’s belly usually help men imagine their baby, and it helps them adapt to the new reality.


At the St-Henri CLSC, prospective parents are shown three childbirth videos. This is always a moment of great emotion. Women are often stressed out, scared, hide their eyes and start to cry when the baby is born. Men are just as touched by this intense moment but feel very worried and powerless: Will everything be alright? Will the baby be healthy? How will I react? Will I be worthy? Where should I stand? What is my role in all of this? I hope I won’t faint…

It is crucial to make future fathers understand that their role is simply to accompany their spouse and be by her side. They must accept that they are not the doctor, the nurse, nor the mid-wife. They are there for support only. It is important to see this role as an important and positive one. Future fathers must remember to be mentally present during childbirth because it is the moment when they truly become fathers. No one can take their place for that. It must be said that some men are disgusted by childbirth images. It’s a shock for most men and most of them tell me that they will be there for the birth but don’t want to see too much!

The baby

Most men can’t wait to see their baby, hold him in their arms and start bonding. Guys get excited talking about this. Of course, most future fathers have never taken care of a baby and are a little apprehensive about it. They just need to be reassured and given basic tips to understand the importance of establishing a direct bond with their baby from birth. It is important to remind men that communicating with a baby is done through the senses (voice, touch, smell, etc.) and not through rational behaviour. Fathers-to be will have to relearn primitive communication, this oh-so stimulating and exhausting communication with a new born. For some fathers, this is a considerable challenge!

The future

Very few men can project themselves into the future. When I ask them about the things they want to do with their baby, they always talk about activities that will happen during the first few months. Some imagine themselves playing sports with their son or discovering the world with their daughter, but they are a minority. Most future parents focus on the birth and the notorious “taking baby home” step that everyone describes as a dreadful challenge. Crossing the desert! Future parents who are often in contact with other parents are calmer because they have real examples of couples who have made it through and experience great joys because of it.


I t's very important to accompany future fathers during pregnancy in a way that is very different from future mothers. For men, it is an imagination exercise. They must make room in their head to welcome the baby that is coming soon. To allow men to create a real image of their unborn baby and allow them to build a bond with this imaginary baby, it’s important for future fathers to talk about their worries with other men going through the same things. It will keep them from being isolated and allow them to create a loving, involved and masculine father image. It is important to recognize all the positive sides of fatherhood since most men think pregnancy brings on more losses than gains. They must be reminded that fatherhood is incredible!

So what do prospective fathers talk about during prenatal classes? Not sports or computers, but emotions, worries and enthusiasm. And once they get started, they can talk about it for as long as future mothers… would love to hear and read what fathers and future fathers think about this! Add a comment in the space reserved to that effect at the end of the article.

Raymond Villeneuve

Regroupement pour la valorisation de la paternité (RVP) is a group of organizations and individuals whose main goal is to promote a positive vision of fatherhood to favour paternal involvement, improve services destined to fathers and make the public opinion evolve about fatherhood, all this, through the respect and contribution of all the family members. 514-528-9227.

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